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FDR Goes to War: How Expanded Executive Power, Spiraling National Debt, and Restricted Civil Liberties Shaped Wartime America Hardcover – October 11, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"FDR Goes to War . . . is the latest and perhaps the most devastating critique of FDR.  It is  painfully relevant to our current president."  -- Thomas Sowell

"FDR Goes to War is a page-turning tour de force -- and a scholarly one, at that -- of the politics and economics of America's involvement in WWII.  Be prepared to rethink much of what you think you know about FDR, the war, and the post-Depression U.S. economy." --Don Bordreaux, Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University

"In New Deal or Raw Deal? Burt Folsom exposed FDR's failed policies during the Great Depression. Now, in FDR Goes to War, he pulls the curtain back even further. Burt and Anita Folsom have produced a book that should be read by all Americans. This is the real history you do not find in textbooks." -- James P. Duffy, author of Lindbergh Vs. Roosevelt

"Few in the history profession have done more to shed light on the real Franklin Delano Roosevelt than Burt Folsom. With FDR Goes to War, Folsom and his wife Anita educate Americans on the facts we should have known but were never taught. You will find this book both shocking and refreshing." -- Lawrence W. Reed, president, Foundation for Economic Education

"A compelling look at a fascinating man in a devastating war. This is the FDR concealed for over half a century by liberal academics and biased journalists. You will learn a lot from this engaging and readable book." -- Paul Kengor, professor of political science, Grove City College, and author of Dupes

About the Author

Burton W. Folsom, Jr., Ph.D., a professor of history at Hillsdale College in Michigan, is the author of several books. A regular columnist for The Freeman, he has also written for The Wall Street Journal, American Spectator, Policy Review, and Human Events.

Anita Folsom has pursued a career in both politics and the teaching of history. Anita served as county chairman for the Reagan/Mitch McConnell campaigns in 1984, and she worked for U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell for two years after he was elected. She currently blogs at

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Threshold Editions; 1St Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439183201
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439183205
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #750,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Burton W. Folsom is a professor of history at Hillsdale College in Michigan and senior historian at the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, New York. He is a regular columnist for The Freeman and has written articles for The Wall Street Journal and American Spectator, among other publications. He lives in Michigan.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 60 people found the following review helpful By David E. Kent on October 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There seems to be very little middle ground in the opinions of those who lived during the presidency of FDR. He was either revered or reviled. In my parents' families he approached sainthood. I heard often in my childhood about the man who saved the country from the hard times of the Great Depression, led courageously in World War II, then died tragically just before it ended, exhausted from his labors. Only as an adult did I begin to question this view, and that was considered by my elders akin to heresy. Dr. Burton Folsom in his previous book, NEW DEAL OR RAW DEAL, revealed how the economic disaster of the 1930's was prolonged and exacerbated by the well intentioned policies of the New Deal. In FDR GOES TO WAR, he, along with his co-author and wife, Anita, explore the political, economic and logistical realities that are rarely addressed in the vast body of literature currently available on the conflict. They point out how Roosevelt was forced to turn to the very businessmen and financiers he had vilified to produce the munitions and materials necessary to wage war successfully. Entrepreneurs, like Andrew Jackson Higgins, are given credit for their contributions essential to victory. Higgins, who was a builder of landing craft in New Orleans, is credited by Eisenhower as the "man who won the war for us."

I consider this book to be a valuable addition to my WW2 collection, well written and well documented. This is a side of the war that needs to be seen and holds lessons for us today as government regulations stifle creativity and business. I also intend to see that my three children each get a copy to help them understand the contribution and sacrifice of their grandparents during that time.
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56 of 69 people found the following review helpful By M. Randall on October 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book, and it is full of shocking information. The play-by-play report of the war was very interesting, but the exploration of FDR's power was the highlight of the book for me. The book looks at how FDR made big business out to be evil until he needed their help during the war. The book also showed how powerful FDR became. "By executive order and legislative statute, FDR gained the power to disregard tariffs, close any radio station, order the military to take over any land, rent any building in the District of Columbia, close any stock exchange, and change labor regulations -- and this was just the beginning." I am amazed what we as a free society will give up in a time of crisis. (On a personal note, have you been to an airport lately?) Some of the bills Congress voted on were unbelievable. For example, under the Robertson-Forand Bill, which passed the House 313-95 on May 4, 1943, people who earned $100,000 in 1942 and 1943 combined owed $115,985 in 1943. Those who earned $1,000,000 owed $1,564,795. Then a compromise was reached so that the figure owed was only $1,006,750 on a $1,000,000 income. Class warfare worked well as a strategy for FDR and the Democrats in the 1940s. The book is well documented and will be a great resource for decades to come.
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42 of 52 people found the following review helpful By D_shrink VINE VOICE on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was well thought out with 56pp of index and chapter notes. The basic premise is that although FDR knew in advance that the Japanese were planning to attack the US, he didn't know exactly where or when. The consensus was the Philippines first. The main problem Roosevelt had was that he got elected promising to keep us out of the war, but he secretly wanted to help China after getting elected in 1932, because the Japanese had invaded Manchurian in 1931 some 10 years before Pearl Harbor. It seems that a good part of the Roosevelt fortune was made by FDR's father in the Chinese opium market, and therefore FDR had a fondness for China. We also learn that a young representative from Texas only 32yo at the time of the 1940 elections, by the name of Lyndon Baines Johnson, got FDR re-elected by helping to win house races in various districts throughout the country by magnanimous financial support provided by the various Alphabet Soup of programs that Roosevelt started to supposedly help end the recession but were in reality a guise to buy votes. We also find out that FDR's opponent in the 1940 presidential race, Wendell Wilkie, was better at oratorical skills.

FDR wanted to help Churchill with the battle for England, again without disturbing his liberal/progressive political base. So he created the Lend-Lease program with England in which we gave them 50 destroyers and other war material in exchange for TEN 100 year leases on land that they owned. It never was meant to be a loan, but a barter of goods [military supplies] for land that we could use in the future to help protect our own shores. Roosevelt also decided to help Stalin, but underestimated his ambitions and abilities in the same way that he underestimated the Japanese.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lee S on November 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book by the Folsoms serves as a corrected copy of FDR's "legacy" that should be required reading for any student of history, especially those interested in WW2. Extremely well documented with more than 30 pages of footnotes. So many parallels to our current day political scene. The reader will be both entertained and educated by the descriptive text that is present throughout the pages of "FDR Goes to War."
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